Issue 28 Articles

gen-E logoLeverage and Enhance Legacy Infrastructure to Improve Performance and Reduce OpEx

Service providers reduce operating expenses by a minimum of 18% by maximizing existing technology investments

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Service Providers Need to Meet Consumer and Business Customer Demand in the Midst of Increasing Complexities

Maintaining service commitments with customers and partner networks is a requirement wwin today’s service assurance model. Consumers and businesses rely heavily on their service provider’s ability to provide at least five nines of service uptime. Personal devices, enabling technologies, and uptime-critical functions require improved resiliency in the operations model. This drive continues to reduce the cost of ownership (OpEx) while the environments, both physical and virtual, become more complex, larger in size, and geographically dispersed.

Legacy Service Assurance Methods Are Monolithic, Cost-Prohibitive, and Not Conducive to Innovation

Historically, the use of powerful, general purpose, monolithic management platforms and specialized vendor-provided element management systems provided necessary capabilities following expensive integration tasks. However, with the increasing number of functions that converge in these environments and management systems, teams must become better enabled.

Detailed examination of the service assurance process will unveil that an alarming 25 percent of time is spent across systems to determine the impact, correlation, suppression, best corrective action, repair, notification, documentation, and verification of restoration. Conservatively, the financial impact of “employee administrative tasks” in an environment with an average of two hundred daily events per operations employee and MTTR of four hours approaches $5,000 each day, equating to $1.8M annually.

Service Providers Have Countless Options When Tackling the Service Assurance Challenge

There are many approaches to taking on the service assurance challenge, and after working with service providers with complex networks for over twenty years, we’ve seen them all. Some companies choose to rip and replace individual systems within their network infrastructure. This is usually approached with trepidation due to the costs, perceived risks, and associated downtime—and rightfully so. Let’s look at construction as an everyday example. Let’s say there is a need to modernize an office building to bring the property to current standards and tenant requirements. Completely bulldozing the structure and building a new structure from scratch, with all the bells and whistles of modern architecture, wouldn’t make business sense.

Rather, it would be prudent to leverage the existing structure and enhance it with add-ons and minor upgrades, such as replacing some of the lighting and windows, as well as a few energy-efficient innovations, such as solar power and wiring for smart home technology. The latter method of leveraging and enhancing the existing infrastructure will lead to minimal downtime and maximized technology investments as well as provide a path to future improvements that will meet the needs of the future.

Leverage and Enhance Your Existing Infrastructure to Meet Your Future Needs

We recommend the same approach to your network—not band-aids to the problems but a bridge to the next-gen technologies that your future network requires. Legacy software has a place in your environment today. Some of the most prevalent network management systems used by service providers have reputations for being clunky and outdated, yet they provide critical functions and are robust enough to handle the demands common to service providers.

With careful thought and execution, foundations can run better than a brand-new implementation and provide you with the kind of balance between CapEx and OpEx that is most meaningful for your bottom line.

An environment with an average of two hundred daily events spends $1.8M annually on administrative tasks related to service assurance. Our clients see a minimum 18 percent reduction in spending

Service Providers Reduce Operating Expenses by a Minimum of 18% with Leverage and Enhance Approach

One regional carrier, who owns and operates one of the top five largest wireless telecommunications network in the United States, was faced with the constant challenge of defending the high costs of maintenance. They needed to make sure they were prepared to roll out new services, support times of transition and next-gen networks, and defend against the perception that coincides with “legacy” software.

The key objectives that were presented by the network operations team included:

  • Reduce complexity with fewer network management systems and integration points and REST APIs.
  • Expedite development with agile methodologies, a service-oriented architecture, and microservices.
  • Position themselves to support the next-gen technologies that are barreling down the pipeline:
    • VoLTE
  • Continuously improve service delivery by ensuring data integrity, maintaining standards, documenting data, and develop testing procedures that are built into the development process.

Every year, the bar has been set higher—with the types and quantities of devices soaring and new technologies on the rise, our tools teams must have a complete understanding of the capabilities and usage methods of procedures to achieve cost-effective service assurance environments.

Like many carriers, they wondered:

  • What is the best way to stitch together our various network management systems to support our service assurance practice?
  • What can we do to help the operations team navigate through information more easily?
  • Do I take the evolution or revolution approach to address my future requirements?

The carrier decided that the “leverage and enhance” approach would best-suit their needs. They contracted gen-E to assess their current status, determine the desired state, and map out a plan of attack to achieve their objectives in a progressive, cost-effective, measurable way.

A multitude of projects stemmed from this initiative, and we’ll highlight one specific example below. The carrier owns IBM Netcool Operations Insight, with 5,035 OMNIbus device licenses. They were looking to reduce their OpEx and increase scalability to handle anticipated event upticks due to the roll out of new services.

We performed a network health check to discover all of their existing entitlements, processes, and people involved in maintaining the network. Then, the carrier met with key company stakeholders to determine the desired state of the network and develop a progressive plan to achieve their desired state. This was done by leveraging the carrier’s existing technology investment to improve performance while reducing maintenance costs. The plan included a mix of:

  • existing entitlement usage of the licenses on the shelf that had never been deployed;
  • services assistance to make use of the full range of Netcool features, including automation and enhanced device support; and
  • some gen-E add-ons to superpower Netcool’s capabilities and lay the foundation for future technologies.

Roll out of the first phase of the plan resulted in a reduction in operating expenses by eliminating $70,000 in maintenance costs annually while also increasing the performance of event management by 400 percent.
Service providers need to leverage a strategic partner who understands the complexity paradigm and has a solution to help keep the cost of operations ownership under control. We can help you take the steps today to manage tomorrow’s environment without ripping and replacing your existing infrastructure.

Why gen-E?
As an advanced analytics and service assurance software company for Fortune 500 enterprises and telecommunications service providers, gen-E enables customers to utilize network and business data. This allows them to understand the health and performance of their company in order to dramatically reduce costs, improve efficiency, and deliver higher-quality service to customers and corporate users.

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